Prompt Images

Beads and Trinkets (1600 – 1750)

Famously traded for Manhattan and other ill natured, nation-altering transactions. America’s oldest trick in the book. Eventually other peoples figured it out and America’s image would never recover.

Gold (1795 – 2024)

It’s been king since our European roots. Whether we were prospecting for it, following rainbows for it, telling others we line the streets with it, or using it to back our currency du jour, gold ruled. We even found some silences so desirable that we named them after gold.

Silver (bits of 1785 – 1900)

Small, weird periods in America where people preferred the second most precious metal. And not in a cool, ironic, Urban Outfitters way.

Why do people want this?

Federal Reserve Note (1913 – 2045)

Or you may know it as dolla dolla bills, y’all. Paper currency with pictures of old, racist men (mostly), or old buildings built by slaves (mostly), or old symbology used by creepy ass secret societies (always). All things to remind us that money really doesn’t belong to us, so don’t get too comfortable with it in your possession.

Gift Cards (1985 – 2019)

Remember stores? Remember getting plastic cards that could only be used in one specific place and having to actually go there in person and have someone check the balance of it and then re-evaluating if you had enough to buy the thing you wanted? Can’t believe those things didn’t last longer.

Crypto/BitCoin (2010 – 2050)

Never recovered after the Matt Damon Super Bowl commercials.

Here Damon tries to explain how Cryptocurrency works, probably.

Maybe would have lasted longer but the mining process and the storage process and bragging on Reddit process destroyed energy grid after energy grid.

NFTs (2020 – 2022)

Take everything you know about cryptocurrency and make it stupider. If you ever thought a drawing of a monkey or an 8-bit image of a zombie was going to pay off, you should check out these beads and trinkets I have.

IOUs (2023 – 2023)

Used by places like The Prompt Magazine to remunerate writers for their work, and based on an old system whereas no one ever got the thing they were promised. (An idea rooted in America’s GI Bill and stealing things from indigenous peoples when they stop falling for the beads and trinkets trick.)

Megabytes (2028 – 2040)

Everything runs through our phones and devices, and the only thing that even matters is how much data you have at your disposal. Data runs so sparse in 2038 that Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy drive a group of ailing data servers across a barren desert.

Amazooms (2051 – 2070)

Leader Bezos creates digital rewards for compliance with Amazon rations. Citizens receive Amazooms for simple tasks like connecting one’s body to the Amazon feed tube or implanting Amazon screen chips into one’s ocular nerves. Amazooms can only be used for Amazon purchases, which is okay, because there is nothing else.

Pennies (2070 – 2072)

After the second American Revolution, a war where citizens rebel against the tyrannical rule of Amazon, the United States embraces its analog roots and welcomes back the penny. Because its production ceased in 2024, the best sources are children’s coin collections and old fountains.

No Currency / N/A (2073)

After the spectacular failed Penny movement, the country, deeply embarrassed about being so stupid, has a moment of self-actualization and enter a period of great cooperation. People live harmoniously, helping others, asking nothing in return but that they help someone else.

PostCurrency (2074 – 2080)

Hucksters and grifters destroy the systems of trust within the year. After that, everyone turned inwards and isolated, hoarding as much as they can for themselves.

Dry Land (3000 – the last day)

Because of our valid and materialist obsessions about all of those other fleeting means of value, all we are left with is dry land. And the increasing limited amount. Those who have it, Kansans and Nebraskans, mostly, become rich, while coastal elites cosplay the last hour of Titanic saying goodbye to loved ones and floating away on armoires and grand pianos.

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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